National Discharge and Community Services Manager
- £594 million in funding from April to September 2021 provided for hospital discharge
- Six weeks funding has been reduced to 4 weeks for those discharged up to September 30
For those working across the healthcare system in England, many will be aware that back in March, the government committed to supporting hospital discharge by providing £594 million in funding from April to September 2021.
This commitment was made to maintain flow across hospitals enabling patients to leave the hospital as quickly and as safely as possible by removing some of the traditional barriers such as funding allocation and choice delays.
National discharge funded care package & patient backlog
The £594 million in allocated funding was broken down into two duration periods to deliver post-discharge recovery as well as support services and rehabilitation.
- Between April 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021: people discharged would receive up to six weeks of funded care
- Between July 1 – September 30: eligibility for funded care following discharge was reduced from six to four weeks
- With the reduction in the period for funded care for those discharged from July 1onwards, it’s essential that patients receive the necessary assessments and planning within the four weeks, meaning D2A processes must be efficient and effective
- The picture for funding after September 30 is unsure. Without any additional funding agreed all funding will return to core system budgets. Stakeholders including NHS Providers are making the case for why the funding must be maintained as a key driver of patient flow.
Why is this all so important? This wind down in funding is happening against a backdrop of the elective surgery waiting list reaching 5.3 million, with 336,000 waiting for more than 52 weeks with fears it could reach 7 million by the end of the year. This sits alongside an ongoing threat from Covid with seven trusts having over 10% of their occupied adult general and acute beds taken up by Covid patients on the 3rd of August. The additional funding provided by the government throughout the pandemic has been seen as an enabler for improved discharge out of the hospital because it removed systemic issues which have slowed flow down in the past.
So, what for the future?
The move back to core budgets has the potential to stifle patient flow at a time when it is critical it’s maintained. We all remember the challenges of DTOC and super-stranded patients. But we also know from before the pandemic that patient flow can be realised through a dedicated and methodical focus on processes as well as intense engagement with patients and families.
We work with NHS organisations across the country and have over 20 years of experience focussed on hospital discharge. We know how hard NHS teams work and how challenging the last 18 months have been. With increased demands and increased complexity, the expectations on NHS teams have never been higher.
We can bring dedicated and focussed support:
- Securing the right D2A capacity on behalf of commissioners and managing this capacity so that the right beds are available at the right time
- Supporting patients out of the hospital, e.g., arranging TTOs
- Working with providers and the NHS to make sure assessments and rehabilitation for individuals happen as soon as they can, following up when they don’t occur and preparing patients for long term care
- Supporting families to help them make decisions. This includes being available after hours and at weekends to talk through options and discuss what is best for their loved ones
We have a singular focus – making patient flow work. We are experts in family liaison and have an unparalleled understanding of local care provision. We understand the NHS, and We work on an ongoing basis or for a dedicated period.
With undoubtedly another difficult autumn ahead for the NHS we must apply the know-how gained before and during the pandemic to avoid issues like delayed discharge or stranded patients, which would lead to even further months on waiting lists for those in need of elective care.